What is WhatsApp Business Platform and how should organisations use it?
If you’re considering adding WhatsApp Business Platform to your customer communications stack, you may be wondering how best to use it. If your organisation is already using it, you may be curious whether you’re getting the best out of it.
Or, perhaps you’re just curious about the benefits and how other organisations are using WhatsApp Business Platform.
Look no further than this resource. We will be covering everything you need to know about WhatsApp Business Platform, from what it is and key features to the benefits and applications for different industries. We even discuss the differences between WhatsApp, WhatsApp for Business and WhatsApp Business Platform.
Continue reading to find out more…
What is WhatsApp Business Platform?
For customers, WhatsApp is the free-to-download app they use to connect with friends, family and businesses. It requires an internet connection and they can send unlimited messages, photos, videos, audio, make calls (including video calls) and more.
For businesses, it’s an opportunity to have two-way conversations with customers. Instead of notifications, you can send rich, interactive messages that boost customer engagement, enhance response rates and help reduce customer churn. Read more about WhatsApp Business Platform and a summary of its capabilities here.
How much impact is WhatsApp having today?
Want to learn more about the customer demand for WhatsApp and how the platform can fit into your existing communication strategy?
Your essential guide to WhatsApp Business Platform
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How does WhatsApp Business Platform compare to other channels?
WhatsApp Business Platform vs SMS
They’re two of the world’s biggest and most popular messaging channels. What are the similarities and differences? Is one better than the other? We compare the two channels in more depth in this blog post, but here’s a summary.
High open rate
SMS has an average open rate of up to 98% while WhatsApp Business Platform’s is up to 99% – both are incredibly effective, especially when you compare to alternative channels e.g. email’s 21% and direct mail’s 42%.
Thanks to end-to-end encryption, you can use WhatsApp Business Platform to send messages that include sensitive information. This isn’t advisable for SMS as SMS messages are not end-to-end encrypted.
For WhatsApp, users need to download the app and have an internet connection. In contrast, SMS is available on any device with a working mobile connection.
The ability to have two-way conversations is built into WhatsApp Business Platform, while you (the business) need a virtual mobile number to have two-way conversations via SMS.
Meta prohibits certain industries from using WhatsApp Business Platform while any industry is permitted to use SMS.
SMS vs WhatsApp Business Platform
Dive deeper into the world of SMS and WhatsApp Business Platform, how the two compare and how real-life businesses are using both channels side-by-side.
WhatsApp vs WhatsApp for Business vs WhatsApp Business Platform
You’ll know what ‘WhatsApp’ is. But what is ‘WhatsApp for Business’? Is it the same as ‘WhatsApp Business’. What about ‘WhatsApp Business Platform’? Here are the main similarities and differences.
|WhatsApp (consumer app)||WhatsApp Business (app)||WhatsApp Business Platform|
|The free app many of us know and use on a personal basis – usually for one-on-one or group messages, voice and video calls.||The free app popular among local businesses. Used to connect with customers, send appointment reminders etc.||The platform best used for automating processes via API. Typically used for customer support, notifications and marketing messages by medium to large companies.|
|Usage||Individual user on a mobile device. One user per device.||Individual users on up to 5 devices.||Multiple users on premium messaging platforms.|
|Setup requirements||An account on a mobile device that is linked to a mobile phone number.||An account on a mobile device that is linked to a mobile or landline phone number.||Account(s) on various devices created by applying through a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP).|
|Types of messages supported||Text messages, multimedia, locations and documents with a 100MB limit.||Text messages, multimedia, locations and documents with a 100MB limit.||Templated messages with a range of features e.g. attach images, videos, documents, interactive buttons and more.|
|Additional rich or automated features?||No.||No.||Yes, including the ability to deploy chatbots.|
|Opportunity to become an Official Business Account (with green tick)?||No.||No.||Yes.|
|Support level||Basic.||Basic.||Expert support offered by Partners.|
|Reporting||Basic.||Basic.||Downloadable CSV reporting via bespoke platform.|
|Ability to group customers?||No.||No.||Yes.|
|Send bulk messages?||No.||Yes – only to customers who have your number saved.||Yes – send bulk, personalised rich messages.|
|Welcome/away messages?||No.||Yes – automated welcome/away messages and quick replies.||Yes – complete automation via chatbots.|
The benefits of WhatsApp Business Platform
Did you know that WhatsApp has more than 2 billion monthly active users and that the average user opens the app up to 25 times a day? Aside from user popularity, here are some other reasons why you should be incorporating WhatsApp Business Platform into your customer communications strategy.
- Have natural conversations on a familiar platform – chats are two-way and unlike live chat, won’t disappear. So, customers can reply when it suits them and your team has the chance to deliver friction-free, natural conversations.
- Interactions can be richer and more memorable – in addition to plain text messages, you can also send rich messages. Send images, videos, interactive buttons and more.
- Connect with customers faster – create message templates that make sending messages to customers (who have opted in to receive communications via WhatsApp from you) faster and easier.
- Better resource allocation and internal efficiency – simultaneously manage multiple conversations from within the Esendex platform, add various users to an account to reduce queues, improve response rates, give your teams more time back and more.
- Support an omnichannel customer comms strategy – when WhatsApp Business Platform is integrated with your existing comms channels, your customers can easily move from one channel to another and their brand experience stays consistent.
Rich features, personalisation, the familiarity of the platform and the ability to have two-way conversations – these are the main reasons organisations are using WhatsApp Business Platform to improve customer loyalty and retention.
Why WhatsApp Business Platform is worth it
Discover more reasons that make WhatsApp such an excellent channel for businesses.
5 best ways to use the platform
1. Rich notifications
If you were sending an appointment reminder, a button for your recipient to reschedule via your online booking system or a button to call the practice makes it quick and easy to move the appointment (if they need to).
2. Marketing campaigns
Use WhatsApp Business Platform’s rich features such as buttons, QR codes and web link previews. They will help your messages stand out and drive traffic to your intended destination.
3. Customer support
Rather than waiting on hold or in a queue (virtual or otherwise), customers can conveniently send you a message on WhatsApp even when on-the-go.
Integrated delivery and read notifications will give you peace of mind that your critical messages have been delivered and engaged with.
When promoting products and services, instead of a basic text message with a link, create innovative campaigns by adding images, videos and buttons to boost engagement and conversion.
Industry applications for WhatsApp Business Platform
A messaging solution like WhatsApp Business Platform can help organisations reach more customers, improve deliverability and engagement rate, boost conversion, customer satisfaction, experience…and more! The platform can be used in many industries but here’s how WhatsApp can be used for retail, finance, healthcare and utilities.
WhatsApp Business Platform in retail
Retailers are constantly competing for attention, trying to create emails with attention-grabbing subject lines and SMS messages with short, persuasive copy. With the richness of the WhatsApp Business Platform, catching your audience’s eye doesn’t need to be time-consuming and challenging.
For example, you can…
- Send rich messages (eg use images, video, call-to-action buttons, etc) to improve your marketing promotions’ performance.
- Create automated interactions so customers get instant answers to their questions and your customer service team has more time to work on more complex queries.
- Send personalised offers and promotional codes, both of which can entice customers to buy your products and drive footfall into your stores.
These are just a few of the ways WhatsApp Business Platform can help increase sales in retail. The platform can also help you ensure business continuity, thanks to its:
- Popularity – when you send important communications via WhatsApp Business Platform, you’re sending them via a channel your audience is most likely to be on.
- High engagement rate – the channel’s average open rate is as high as 99%. Use it alongside your existing comms channels to boost the reach and engagement of your critical messages.
Read more about how WhatsApp Business Platform can ensure business continuity in retail here.
WhatsApp Business Platform in finance
WhatsApp allows financial service businesses to reach customers on a platform they already use and know well. Here are some ways WhatsApp Business Platform can be used in the finance sector:
- Facilitating two-way customer service conversations – whether it’s via a chatbot or with a human agent.
- Measuring customer satisfaction – did you know that a third of consumers would complete surveys or write reviews if asked via WhatsApp?
- Sending security alerts – a mobile messaging channel like WhatsApp is one of the fastest and most engaging ways to send critical notifications to customers.
Dive deeper into the ways financial service providers can use WhatsApp here.
WhatsApp Business Platform in healthcare
Technology such as digital portals, chatbots and automated reminders have been helping the healthcare industry enhance the patient experience. In particular, a solution like WhatsApp Business Platform can be ideal for:
- Sending appointment reminders
- Enabling patients to manage their appointments
- Offering medical advice
- Boosting patient engagement
- Sending feedback forms and surveys
This is thanks to the platform’s rich features, such as quick replies, interactive buttons, documents attached to messages, the ability to send media messages and more.
When healthcare providers use WhatsApp Business Platform, they can benefit from:
- Enhanced patient trust
- Stronger relationships with patients
- Reduced appointment no-shows
- The ability to better manage long-term health conditions
- A fast connection between patients and hospitals
Learn more about the benefits of WhatsApp Business Platform in healthcare here.
WhatsApp Business Platform in utilities
When it comes to customer service, customers value a fast response time. Like retail, finance and healthcare, WhatsApp Business Platform can also help the utility sector provide a better customer experience.
- Two-way conversations even when on the go – WhatsApp allows customers instant access to services at any time, any place and customer support reps can handle multiple interactions at once.
- Bot-driven interactions – perfect for handling meter readings and FAQs, a WhatsApp chatbot can allow customers to self-serve and free up your reps to focus on more complex cases.
- Customer satisfaction surveys – sent via the channel your customers love, they’re more likely to read the message and respond to the survey.
Read about the benefits of WhatsApp Business Platform for the utility sector here.
Want to keep reading about the real-life applications for WhatsApp Business Platform?
Head over to our blog to dive deeper!
Key features of WhatsApp Business Platform
Here are some of the main WhatsApp Business Platform features that will help you stand out from competitors and improve overall customer experience:
- Rich features – send messages with media (images, videos etc), buttons (CTA or quick replies/suggested responses), location pins, URLs with preview images and more.
- Two-way chats – engineer high-quality conversations, not one-way notifications. This can encourage customers to engage with you outside of requiring order-related support.
- Customisable message templates – templates make it easier to send repeatable business-initiated communications. Make sure your templates are designed in a way that prompts two-way conversations or is a transactional notification that offers value to the recipient.
- Branded profiles – from your brand name and logo to the ability to add a description, a branded profile boosts customer trust.
- Opportunity to become an Official Business Account (OBA) – OBAs have a green checkmark beside their displayed name. It means Meta has verified that an authentic, notable brand owns this account. Their assessment criteria is based on a number of factors and is at Meta’s discretion. Read more about this here.
- Reporting functionalities – WhatsApp Business Platform’s reporting features, such as read receipts and button clicks, will help you better understand your customer preferences and empower you to continually improve your messages.
- Chatbots – bots/automated messages can filter the customers who can self-service from the ones who need human assistance. This can improve response rates and give your customer service team more time to resolve complex cases.
How to get the most out of WhatsApp Business Platform
When WhatsApp Business Platform is used as per best practices, you can reduce customer churn, boost retention and see other benefits. So, whether you’re thinking about trying out the platform or you already are using it, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your investment.
- Personalise content to the individual customer e.g. using their first name, tailoring offers based on their preferences.
- Have conversations with customers – via WhatsApp Business Platform, you can have two-way chats which feel natural and help you build deeper relationships with customers.
- Know your customers’ contact preferences as sending too many messages can impact your business’ quality rating on WhatsApp.
- Use WhatsApp Business Platform’s rich features to create a more engaging customer experience.
- Use WhatsApp Business Platform alongside other communication channels – such as email, SMS and live chat. Not only does this maximise reach but it also allows the customer to choose the channel of their choice.
Check out our blog post on the top do’s and don’ts of using WhatsApp Business Platform here to dive deeper.
Creating an opt-in strategy for WhatsApp
To reduce spam and excessive notifications, Meta requires businesses to obtain opt-in permission from every user before communications are sent.
In addition to complying with applicable laws, your opt-in must state the following:
- That the user is opting in to receive messages from your business via WhatsApp.
- The business name that the user is opting in to receive messages from.
Here are some common ways you can request opt-in permission:
- An opt-in form on your website.
- Paper (ask customers to sign a hard copy of a document).
- Over the phone.
Tips to create a high-quality opt-in experience
- Make sure users expect the messages they receive.
- Give clear guidance on how people can opt out of receiving certain types of messages.
- Clearly explain to users the value of receiving this information via WhatsApp.
- Respect requests made by a user to stop receiving communications from you via WhatsApp, even if it’s made through another channel (e.g. via email).
What if I don’t obtain opt-in permission?
If you don’t obtain opt-in permission before you contact users via WhatsApp Business Platform, you risk reducing your business’ quality rating and messaging limits for your account.
For example, users may report or even block your business if they receive too many and/or unsolicited messages. This will impact your quality rating, which can cause you to move down a messaging tier and significantly reduce the number of messages you can send daily.
Learn more about WhatsApp opt-in and out policies here.
Quality ratings and message limits on WhatsApp Business Platform
In the previous section, we mentioned that not providing users with a clear opt-in and out policy can impact your quality rating and message limits. The three quality states, which can be found under the phone number tab in your business’ WhatsApp Business Manager, are:
- High (green).
- Medium (yellow).
- Low (red).
Your quality state depends on how the messages have been received by your recipients over the last seven days. If you reach ‘low quality’, you will receive a notification in the Business Manager. Your WhatsApp status will also change to Flagged or Restricted and your ability to send messages will be impacted.
If your quality state remains low for a while, Meta will rate limit your business. Here are the rate limit tiers:
- Tier 1 (every new WhatsApp-enabled number will start here) – up to 1,000 unique message recipients daily.
- Tier 2 – up to 10,000 unique message recipients daily.
- Tier 3 – up to 100,000 unique message recipients daily.
- Tier 4 – once a business surpasses Tier 3, they can send unlimited messages with unlimited conversation replies.
If you exceed your daily tier limit, your message will not be delivered. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain a good quality rating on WhatsApp Business Platform. Moving down a tier can reduce the number of messages you can send daily and significantly impact your company’s communication strategy.
Read more about quality ratings and how to improve yours here.
Wondering how other businesses have been using WhatsApp Business Platform to improve customer satisfaction and experience?
Melia Hotels International provides customers with all the information they might need, from reservations to booking confirmations and location services.
Netflix sends users personalised recommendations and information related to their accounts.
Absa Bank uses WhatsApp so customers can easily connect with customer service and still bank via a secure interface.
Discover more success stories…
Want to learn how you can follow in these businesses’ footsteps?
WhatsApp Business Platform: Your path to richer, more engaging experiences
WhatsApp Business Platform is a great addition to your communications stack if you want to:
- Connect with customers one-on-one – it’s the most used messaging platform in the world and gives both you and your customers the ability to connect one-on-one, regardless of time or location.
- Simplify the process of connecting with customers – the platform can be integrated with other systems, making it easier for your business to connect with customers.
- Have conversations that feel natural – thanks to the ability to have two-way chats and the fact that customers can speak to you via the app they’re already using to connect with friends.
- Improve the quality of your interactions – use WhatsApp Business Platform’s rich features to deliver more engaging conversations.
- Improve customer experience (CX) – use WhatsApp Business Platform alongside your existing comms channels to offer a multi and omnichannel CX. Being present on (for example) SMS, email, RCS and WhatsApp allows your customers to choose their favourite channel to engage with you on.
- Boost conversion rate – from integrating the platform with your existing channels to create a multichannel strategy to delivering a richer experience, WhatsApp Business Platform can help you improve customer engagement and ultimately, conversion rates.
Are you ready to get started?
We’re offering all of our customers – new and existing – a free trial so it’s the perfect time to try the platform and see how it fits in with your business.
You will benefit from 250 conversations, 1,000 messages, access to our intuitive platform to better manage your messaging, the opportunity to become a WhatsApp Official Business Account and more – all for free!